Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Downtown Evanston looking to define itself

Downtown Evanston is getting a marketing makeover.

EVMark, a nonprofit organization that markets and maintains downtown Evanston, is spearheading the effort to come up with an image for the downtown area.

“We’re reviewing our identity as a downtown district and as an organization,” said Carolyn Dellutri, EVMark’s executive director. “EVMark has been a part-time organization for many years. Now we’re going full-time; now it’s time to evaluate what we’re doing.”

Focus groups aiming to shape that identity started working Tuesday, said Amy McCarter, principal of the consulting firm Pressley Jacobs, which is conducting the groups.

EVMark chose Pressley Jacobs out of 34 applicants in January; it is hoping to have a logo ready by the summer, among other accomplishments.

The hope is to develop a brand identity that will last from five to 10 years, Dellutri said.

The focus groups will include input from the Northwestern community, downtown businesses and residents.

“(It’s a) very exciting process – helping areas figure out who they are and what they aspire to be,” McCarter said. “Is Evanston eclectic and unique, historic and academic, a place people want to go for intimate and unique shopping experience, or place to get a lot done with chain stores?”

Some students said they thought the effort is a good idea.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Weinberg sophomore Shantina Boyd said. “I feel like there are a lot of stores that are overlooked or unknown.”

But others said they didn’t think the city needs to use money to figure out how to market downtown.

“Evanston has an image of being safe and hip,” said Weinberg sophomore Alyssa Kogan. “I think it already has an image.”

Kogan added she appreciates the downtown as is.

“It’s kind of like a nice escape from campus because it seems like (NU) life is kind of like living in a bubble,” she said. “It has really nice stores and it’s also aesthetically pleasing; it’s not a disgusting city. I really enjoy going into Evanston.”

Cities periodically conduct these types of studies in order to market their city more effectively and understand what people want, said Gina Speckman, executive director of Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau, a destination marketing organization for the North Shore region.

If the effort is successful, more people will come to downtown Evanston, which will bring more revenue to the area and further help the city’s efforts to market downtown as a place.

“It’s a big cycle,” McCarter said.

Increased collaboration between Northwestern and Evanston is a strategy that could bring more people downtown and benefit both parties, McCarter added.

“There could be a symbiotic relationship there that could be just fabulous for everyone,” she said.

Developing a brand identity for a city is usually a more emotional process than developing a brand for a company, McCarter said.

“It’s a living and breathing thing,” she said. “With a city you’re helping to give a personality to all the businesses, associations, and residents that make up that area.”

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Downtown Evanston looking to define itself